Tuesday, April 24, 2018

An 'Un'-alarming Start to the Day

The alarm went off. Not the one I set on my phone...the one in my head that told me, "It's light outside, why are you still in bed?" I bolted upright and stared at the clock in stark confusion. 6:38. I stared at the time in my reluctantly conscience state and tried to make sense of what that meant. My thought process went like this, "6:38.......six.....thirty-eight...6:38!!!!!! CRAP! We are supposed to be out the door at 6:30 to get Sam to school on time!"  I vaguely remembered, and still can't say for sure whether it was a dream or not, angrily pushing the snooze button on my phone as though wanting to stab a whole through the darn thing for waking me up! I'm guessing it wasn't a dream.

So I sprung from my bed, went from room to room jiggling one kid after another awake with urgency in my voice, "I overslept, we are supposed to be on the road...NOW!! Get up, get dressed, we have to GO!" I got myself dressed, ran a brush through my frizzy hair, brushed my teeth, threw on some mascara in an attempt to make myself look awake and poured my coffee.

The kids were out the door in record time without breakfast and grabbing random lunch food items as we head out the door. On the way to Sam's school, 35 minutes away, I made sure to tell everyone how awesome they were. Providentially, Samuel's teacher was late that day and he ended up waiting for her to arrive instead of vice versa. And by the grace of God, we still arrived at school with 2 minutes to spare. As I made my way down the ramp to my classroom a dozen sprightly 6-7 years bounded my way. I knew I would need another cup of coffee to handle their energy.

When I got home after a pretty good day, I had a text from my sons' teacher. It said, "I hope (so and so) can get some sleep. He was kinda cranky today. (not being bad, just CRANKY!)" I responded like this:

Yes, when I saw Cecelia at lunch time she was eating a bag of chips and a string cheese. Samuel didn't have lunch, I have no idea what the others ate and yet, not one of them complained. Most days, I am frustrated with my kids because I am practically dragging them out the door after innumerable reminders to get dressed, pack lunch, eat breakfast, brush teeth, grab homework etc., the list goes on and on. But sometimes they remind me that they can work as a team and when they do, they are fabulous!

Monday, April 9, 2018

7 More Weeks!

33 Days to be exact (not including the weekends)...not that anyone is counting. Ok, everyone is counting; students, parents, and teachers alike and probably all for different reasons. And when you are a parent/teacher you are counting doubly, like a couple times a day just to make sure you didn't miscount.  Some parents are counting with apprehension wondering how they will juggle the new summer schedule with their work load, some are counting with joyful anticipation knowing soon they will finally have a more flexible schedule and won't have to pack lunches every day.  I count with a giddy and impatient fervor. With the joy of a parent whose schedule will be freed up to live at our own pace, and begin a summer of new experiences.

I am so blessed to work where I do. To have the same days on and off as my kids (with the exception of Sam) and to be able to enjoy the summer almost as a kid does. I am blessed to work with three nuns who have dedicated their whole lives to the Catholic education of children and who care about them as though they were their own. Three nuns who I am proud to call my dear friends. I am blessed to be able to attend daily Mass and to have my children receive the sacraments with me.

It's easy to get caught up in the tedium of our day to day work and long for the weekend or spring break or summer, but the truth is I have it made. I have to stop every now and then and remind myself of that fact. We went back to school today after a ten day break and even though it was hard (boy was it hard!!) to get out of bed at the crack of dawn, it was great to see my students again and my fellow teachers. In each of them, however, I could sense excitement that we are in the final stretch.

A highlight of my day came when I first got to my classroom and the older sister of one of my First Graders brought me a sugar-free vanilla latte, on it she had written with a Sharpie, '7 more weeks!!☺'
Many times prior the same kids' dad had purchased myself and his daughter's teacher a morning coffee and while it's always such a sweet surprise, several times I had to pass it off to our secretary on account of my sugar-free diet....but not today.  I am thankful.

sometimes we do this for our staff meetings ☺

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Now It's GOING to Happen

"Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do..." -Mark Twain

In two years, the kids and I are going to embark upon our greatest excursion yet. I have been talking to the Fab Five about it for at least a year now, and in my mind, I am beginning to plan it. But now that I am announcing it to the world, it is solid. We are going to drive the Al Can Highway through Canada and into Alaska to explore nature and the Last Frontier like one can only do by road. The desire has been there since my great Uncle Billy described his trip on the same highway to me as a young teenager. I wish my memory of his stories were more clear, but what is clear is my yearning to take this trip has always been there and has never been stronger. It was in my five year plan two years ago, but I feel we need to take this adventure a year earlier.

I know in my heart that it is this time or never as my kids are growing up and soon will be off on their own adventures of life. Time is short for us to explore this world together. The summer of 2020 Samuel will have just graduated from high school (yikes! that is a scary thing to type) and after that he may not be as readily available to travel with me anymore. I have already been telling him that he can get a job, but not one he is too attached to, as this trip needs to happen before that time comes.

Some how I always know when something is more of a calling than a dream, and this is one of those times. When an idea consumes my thoughts and takes over my Pinterest, I know it will happen. It happened when I trekked the Wonderland Trail, when we went to Yellowstone and I ran my first half marathon, and I have the same craving now as I did then. Also, I never speak my dreams unless I am sure it will happen, especially to my kids. This has been a hard and fast rule that I follow so as not to get hopes up and dash them by not following through.

So here's to two years of planning, saving and staying healthy!

Roadtrip 2020

A New Chapter

My boys are growing fast. The girls too, but the boys are definitely in the metamorphosis of adolescence. Samuel and Hunter have changed so much this year that pictures of them just last year make them look like tiny little boys. Their voices have deepened, their 'staches are budding, and they are constantly comparing their height and strength as a measure of their manliness. They both crack me up and drive me crazy. When they were little I can't tell you how many times while in line to pay for groceries, I was told by older women to, "enjoy them now,  they grow so fast!" I tried, and I did. But it was difficult, as a single mom, through the diapers, tantrums, fights and sleepless nights to think to myself, "Wow, I really enjoy this!"

That being said, I truly have enjoyed every stage of their growing up. Now (when they aren't fighting over the Xbox or bickering with each other) I enjoy their hilarious sense of humor and having conversations with them that are both entertaining and thought provoking. Both Samuel and Hunter have joined me in volunteering for Pierce Co. Search and Rescue. We've gone through training together, attended meetings together and have searched together for both people and important evidence. I can look back and say I truly have enjoyed them as babies, as children and now as young adults.

And now, together, all six of us are embarking on perhaps the scariest adventure of all...Samuel is beginning to drive. The very idea of my child operating a vehicle amidst crowded roads and so many crazy drivers is torturous!  Sitting in the passenger seat with absolutely no control and trusting he will be able to make good judgements is the greatest trust fall of all! He is in his fourth week of driver's ed and I try to let him drive every chance I can. In all honesty, he's a very good driver...much better than I was when I started out. That's not to say we haven't had some hair raising moments:

Saturday, April 7, 2018

The Itch

Writing keeps me open as a person, truth spills out when I type whereas it might get sugar coated when I speak. For the last year, however, I have done VERY little writing....ok, I haven't done ANY!! I have blamed the old equation: my job + my life = no time. "I will write come summer." I told my mom the other day when she asked me why I haven't written anything. "That's what you said last summer!" she replied. Then it dawned on me...she's right. Why haven't I written? Is it because I don't have any truth that I want to share? Is it because I don't believe myself worthy to take up others' time with my words? Is it because I'm just plain lazy? Maybe a combination of the latter two.

There is an itch, however, that I can't ignore. An itch that is enough to get me back in front of my computer regardless of my kids hovering around me needing this or that as they are doing right now. So here I am. Truth? Do you really want it? I just told my kids that there will be one full day every week without the damn Xbox because I don't want to hear them arguing about who's turn it is. Now they are mad at me and I just remembered why I haven't written. It's because typing on the computer is like talking on the phone, no matter where my kids are or what they were doing, as soon as I am busy, they become as needy for my attention as when they were little.

The truth is also this: my kids are my life, and their needs will come first, even if my eyes are on the verge of bugging out and my head is about to explode, which is what happens when your mind tells you it's time for camping but the weather forecast tells you otherwise.

The mud season has arrived in the PNW. I saw a very accurate meme about Oregon weather that applies as well to the weather here in Western Washington. We have 11 seasons of the year: Winter, Fool's Spring, Second Winter, Spring of Deception, Third Winter, Mud Season, Actual Spring, Summer, False Fall, Second Summer (one week) and Actual Fall. Right now the rain is falling outside with a vengence and our much anticipated first hike of the year with Pierce County Search and Rescue was cancelled due to high wind warnings. This would have been exactly what we needed right now, fresh air and space from one another. Oh well, life goes on, and sunny days are bound to come....right?

Monday, November 7, 2016

A Miracle Cure

There are a couple bugs going around right now, and as a teacher, I am exposed to all of them. There is the stomach thing; dizziness, weakness, nausea and possible vomiting . Then there is the face thing; sinus pain, stuffiness, and runny eyes and nose. One of my students recently succumbed to the first bug. She was sent home.

By that afternoon, another student seemed to be a victim of the same thing. With a vivid explanation of how he felt, ("My stomach feels like it is moving up to my throat, and I feel really, really weak, even weaker than my baby brother. My head feels spicy and I'm dizzy.") I thought, "Oh great, it's going to go through everyone!" I tried to contact victim #2's parents, even though it was nearing the end of the day. They were unable to come early, so I had him lie down on our reading rug and try to rest.

It turns out is was another student's birthday this day and she brought cupcakes to share with the class.  While the class, excepting sick child #2, were out at P.E., I sat at my desk to enjoy a few moments of silence and prepare for the remaining hours of the school day. #2 had much to say...a LOT to say. Now, I cherish the few minutes in the day where I can sit in peace and not speak to another living soul, but he had so much to talk about. Finally, I had to say, "You know, when I'm as sick as you are, I can never talk as much as you are doing right now...." He seemed to take the hint and rested quietly for a few moments until the bell rang and the rest of class came clambering in.

Upon finishing our afternoon routine it was time to pass out the cupcakes. It was in this moment that I believe I discovered the cure to the stomach bug that is going around. CUPCAKES!! In an instant, that child was off the floor, smiling and cheering with the other students at the prospect of feeding his sweet tooth. Now, I'm no expert, but I believe even scientists haven't come up with a cure that works this fast. It was amazing!

Now, as for the "face thing" going around. I caught it Friday and felt so miserable that I'm pretty sure I caught the 'man' version of it. Not much got done over the weekend, but I'm feeling better now. Here's to good health, everyone!

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Underground to Above the Clouds

"Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing." - Helen Keller. 

This may be my favorite quote of all time...but then I can't be sure because I am a lover of quotes. One day, maybe I will be quoted as saying something earth shatteringly wonderful....okay, I'm getting ahead of myself.  My latest adventure, however, brought this quote to mind..."life is either a daring adventure, or nothing." I'm pretty sure Helen Keller and I would have been great friends; she'd never judge me for the way I looked or what I said, she'd never repeat secrets I told her or speak unkindly about me. We'd walk together in silence experiencing one dangerous adventure after another.

With that being said, I was thankful for the adventurers I had with me the second week of July when we traveled 140 miles south to the great and powerful Mt. St. Helens. I had acquired our climbing permits the first possible day way back in February. After that the date of our climb was set in stone as the permit process is pretty rigid. The weather, however, in the Pacific Northwest (PNW) is as fluid as the sea that dictates it's changing ways and with our hike rapidly approaching, we were heading into a cloudy stretch with chances of rain. I even read reports that given the variable of wind, the temperature at the summit could feel like 37 degrees!! Yes, it was still July, last I checked.

The weather forecast didn't dampen our spirits, however, we just packed accordingly. This trip was a promised "one on one" time for Samuel and Hunter as I had already gotten to spend special time with Ben and then the girls. It ended up being "one on four" though because my nephews, Donovan and Thomas picked up the extra permits we had acquired. It turned out to be perfect, however, because everything is always more fun when cousins are around.

After Mass, we drove the almost 2 1/2 hours to Cougar, WA where we checked into Lone Fir Resort. The room was gorgeous and comfortable, just what I was looking for, and there was a pool outside, just what the boys were looking for. First off, though, we all wanted to explore the Ape Caves.

This longest continuous lava tube in the continental U.S. offers 2.5 miles of dark explorations. We made sure all of our flashlights had good batteries and layered on some extra clothing. The caves were only about a 10-15 minute drive from our room. 

I've been to the caves before but my children had not. The last time I went was with a few of my siblings and their families and all I really remember was passing babies back and forth to each other as we struggled to climb volcanic boulders in the dark without falling over or dropping one of the little ones. I looked forward to doing this now with my boys who can not only walk on their own two legs but give me a hand if I need one. 

We arrived at the parking lot for the ape caves mid-afternoon and descended into the opening via a steep, metal staircase. We had the option of taking the longer but easier lower tunnel to the left or the shorter but more difficult tunnel to the right. We went left first, then when we returned from the lower cave, we explored the upper cave. The hike was an easy albeit somewhat bumpy walk through an amazing couple of miles of underground trail. Toward the end of the lower cave the ceiling became lower and the walls narrowed.  Being claustrophobic, just breathing normally become laborious. I literally struggled to take a deep breath and knew that I needed to turn around. The boys didn't seem to have a problem, however, especially Hunter who crawled his way to the point where we had no choice but to turn around and head back. 

Oh, by the way, did I mention this hike takes place entirely in the pitch dark? You cannot see your hand in front of your face. Some of us wore head lamps and some carried flashlights. Wearing a headlamp made it easier because many times in the upper tunnel we had to use our hands to climb up and over large abrasive boulders.  At one point in order to go further we had to scale an 8 foot wall with only one foothold in it. We helped each other up and over without much trouble.

A sign outside the caves said, "No Smoking in Cave", well someone did not heed the warning and the smoke, or at least the smell of smoke, having nowhere to go, clung thick and sickening to the cave's interior. I felt nauseous and welcomed the end of the tunnel. We were fooled at one point, thinking that an opening in the cave was the actual exit. It was the first natural light we had seen in awhile and the fresh air felt good in our lungs. The slight taste of the great outdoors made me hungry for more (and the hike itself just made me hungry!). By the time we reached the ladder at the end of the cave, I was good and ready to get dinner and relax before our early start the next morning. 

The air outside felt balmy compared to the constant 42 degrees of the cave. We hiked back not really knowing where we were going but hoping the trail we found would lead us back to the van. At one point our group of five and a group of four in front of us walked through a dry ditch that the trail traversed. I was bringing up the rear and noticed each person, upon walking through the ditch,  began flailing  their arms as though being swarmed by mosquitos. Before I knew it I too, was surrounded. I tried to shoo them away not overly concerned until Samuel told me they were bees! How I didn't make this distinction is beyond me, but of the nine of us walking through their territory, I was the only one to get stung. They got me through several layers of clothes just above my belly button. It was more irritating mentally than physically, or maybe it was just adding to my already hangry (angry on account of being hungry) state of being. I needed food.

We decided to eat at the cafe at the Lone Fir Resort. It was more of a fancy sports bar than a cafe and the prices went along with the atmosphere. I ordered one large pizza for all of us to share. The boys got a pitcher of root beer and I got a Huckleberry hard cider. We sat across from a group very similar to our own, it was boys about the same age as my boys and their moms.  Three moms actually and three boys. The boys were obnoxiously loud and rude and the mothers laughed at everything they did and said. I thanked my sons and nephews right there and then for being the young men that they were.

After dinner, as we walked back to our room, the guys remembered the pool. Samuel and Hunter didn't bring shorts, but Donovan and Thomas came prepared. After begging and pleading with me, I allowed them to go swimming regardless of them not having swim shorts. At the risk of sounding like a bad mom, I didn't even want to know what they planned to wear (or not wear) in the pool. They headed outside and I passed out as soon as my head hit the pillow.

The next morning I rose early to take a shower. The boys were still sleeping, three to one bed and one of them with me. As I entered the bathroom I marveled at the still dripping wet jeans strewn haphazardly across the floor. The shower curtain and rod had fallen off the wall apparently on account of the weight of the wet clothes that were tossed over the top in an attempt to hang them to dry. Clothes were everywhere and the bathroom looked like the waters had receded after a major flood. I was just glad it wasn't my house.

We ate the free continental breakfast offered by the resort, and lots of it. We needed to fuel up for the long climb ahead. After returning the keys and checking out, we began the drive up the winding gravel roads to Climbers Bivouac where the trail up Mt. St. Helen began. It was a cloudy cool morning but it didn't feel like it would rain. When you are from western Washington you know it's going to rain simply by instinct, and my instincts were telling me that, in spite of the overcast sky, we weren't going to get caught in a downpour.

The trail started out at an easy grade (gaining 1,000 ft. in elevation in 2.1 miles), it was wooded and pleasant. A few small doe obliviously nibbled the soft green grass just off the trail. A few patches of bright purple wildflowers punctuated the green all around that seemed magnified under the lens of low clouds.  That atmosphere was such that we probably wouldn't even bat an eye if we spotted Sasquatch among the trees. It was quiet until we reached the junction at the Loowit Trail. Climbing past this point required a permit and only 100 permits a day were offered. Several people lingered there, resting before the hard part began, some realized they could go no further.

The first 2.1 mile easy forested part of trail.
Forest canopy

We grabbed a snack from our backpacks and made sure to be drinking lots of water. Then we followed the sign to Monitor Ridge. The climb to the top is 5 miles, one way. Like I said, in the first 2.1 miles we gained 1000 ft. in elevation, in the next 2.9 miles we would gain 3500 ft. That should tell you how steep this climb was! Not only was it steep, but the trail was only marked by log poles that were lodged into holes between huge volcanic boulders. We had to spot a pole, scramble hand and foot over couch-sized rocks until we got there and then try to spot the next one. This became increasingly more challenging as we approached the clouds and couldn't even see from one post to the next. It was fun, however, and although we were putting in full effort, no one complained. 

The beginning of the boulder field

Taking a break, with clouds in our hair.

resting in the clouds

The posts showed the way.
Flowers among the rocks

 The boys would often climb ahead of me and then I would find them all sitting in a group resting and grabbing a handful of flaming hot Funyuns or whatever bright red thing teenagers love to eat. At one point, I told them that they could hike as far ahead as they wanted but when I caught up to them they couldn't get going again until I had my own break. They were fine with this and it kept us all pretty close together, an added safety precaution we took was I had one walkie talkie and someone among them had the other, this way we knew basically where everyone was at all times. 

Somewhere along the line we met up with the three mothers and their obnoxious sons from the resort cafe. This served as added motivation to keep us going many times as my boys (ok, we) couldn't let them "beat" us to the top. So many times, however, we leap frogged back and forth as they took breaks, we would climb ahead, and vice versa. 

The boulder field ended and a different kind of difficult awaited us. The last 1000 feet or so to the top was a steep, sandy challenge of taking two steps forward one step back. The ground was soft and each step forward was met with a little bit of slipping downward. The challenge was as much mental as it was physical. At some point, with clouds in our hair, and sand in our shoes, we stopped looking at the ground and looked up at the scenery that surrounded us. The overcast sky was opening up to a brilliant cobalt blue and the nearby Mt. Adams played peek-a-boo almost due East of us. We could finally see the top, or at least what we hoped was the top. It was an amazing feeling to be able to look down on the top of clouds and know that you just climbed through them.

a cloudy view

Thomas and Hunter rest on the steep ascent to the top

Noticing the clouds breaking and Mt. Adams due East

The boys closing in on the summit

whatever works!

The clouds give perspective to the steepness of the ascent

Getting close!

Having spotted the goal, all of the boys, except Hunter, hurried ahead with a new energy. Hunter, although he could have easily left me in the dust, stayed with me. I'm not sure if they take turns or if it just occurs organically, but whenever we are hiking one of my boys stays nearby to keep me company. I try to reassure them that I don't mind hiking alone (I actually love it) but they lovingly insist on being protectively by my side and I love them for that.  The last 50 feet were the hardest but the scenery now was surreal. We could see not one, but two Cascade volcanos hanging out above the clouds, not including the one we were standing on. 

At the top, small as ants, we could see the rest of our group sitting down watching as we hiked onward, seemingly in slow motion. Hunter and I joked, the view is already amazing, couldn't we just call it good enough and rest where we were? But we have never been "good enough" kind of people, and as the mother/son group was gaining on us, our competitive nature pushed us to the 8,365 ft. summit. 

On the crest of Washington's most active volcano, we stood looking out, where 36 years prior a mountain blew it's top, ash rose 80,000 feet into the atmosphere, glaciers melted in an instant, and 57 people lost their lives. On account of the clouds we couldn't see the cone that has been rebuilding the mountain every year since that fateful day, letting the world know, she is still as dangerous as ever.  Exhausted, Hunter and I joined the others on the warmed rocky ground at the top and sat in reverent silence as we took in views of Mt. Rainier, Mt. Adams and Mt. Hood. There were other people up there also, all quietly resting in speechless awe. Our competitors arrived soon and the camaraderie that is shared among those who accomplish a common goal helped us see past any prior annoyances. Not in any hurry to turn around and begin the long trek down the mountain, the boys and I used our packs as pillows and lying down, we napped in the warm sun.

Approaching the crater

Mt. Rainier barely visible due to clouds

on top of the world!
walking the ridge line before heading down

Climbing party 2016

Sam and I

What goes up must come down, and we were no exception. After exploring the ridge line for a little while we realized the clouds were starting to increase, we thought it best to descend before we got caught in a rainstorm.  Looking down from where we had come, we paused before taking the first step knowing that it would begin the long, knee-pounding journey down the mountain. But without hesitation the boys took off, they ran/hopped looking like they were running on the surface of the moon, I followed behind and in an instant we covered as much ground going down what took us a good length of time and energy to get up. That ashy sand that made our ascent so difficult made descending the mountain a breeze...that was until we got to the boulder field.

After bounding down 1,000 feet in a matter of minutes, we gathered to rest and and regroup before we began the climb down and off the volcanic boulders. It was then that I realized a slight pain I had felt as we left the top had turned into a great pain that screamed for attention. My left knee was angry at me for the abuse I had just put it through. As we sat there, we could hear and see the mom/son group descending in a more careful manner than we had and although we had mentally proclaimed "truce" on St. Helen's summit, the race was on once more. 

This time Samuel stayed with me. Since there was no right path to take down we figured we'd all just meet at the bottom. The other boys went one way and Sam and I went a way that looked easier. We descended in the fog which amplified sound. Every now and then we could hear voices and couldn't tell if it was the other boys or our competition. After some time we saw Thomas making his way higher up on the slope and he and Samuel goaded each other that is was they who had found the faster way down.  It turned out that Sam and I were wrong. At one point, when we were back underneath the clouds we could look far below and see the meadow where the actual trail picked up. Donovan, Thomas and Hunter, looking like ants, were crossing the meadow and heading toward the trail. I was moving so slowly on account of my knee that I begged Samuel to go ahead, as I knew, in spite of his protective instinct, he truly wanted to. After I convinced him I was fine, he left and soon I could see him joining up with the others as they rested far below.

My knee pain had become excruciating and every move took a lot of effort. This is where that often annoyingly competitive nature of mine came in handy. I was determined to not be passed up by the other moms and so I pressed on. Soon, after being in contact with the boys via walkie-talkies, I met up with them and insisted on all of us resting until I was ready, even though they were chomping at the bit to get going. 

The rest of the way back to the van should have been a pleasant and easy 2.1 mile walk through the quiet and peaceful forest. With my knee hurting, however, quiet was replaced with the voice in my head constantly going back and forth between "you have to keep going, there is a race to be won!" and "you can stop, rest and even curl up into a ball and die." Luckily for me the former voice beat out the latter. I developed a hobble where as long as I didn't bend my left leg, I was okay. This is harder than it sounds and even the slightest bend had me wincing in agony. I felt completely alone in the forest as I didn't pass a single soul along the way. I rested when I absolutely needed to, but I was determined not to let three women I didn't know win a competition they didn't even know they were in. Funny how the mind works.

After what seemed like forever, the forest opened up to the trailhead and the parking lot where the boys were waiting. I apologized for them having to wait so long and they told me they had actually only been there for a few minutes.  I was shocked. It's amazing how a vivid imagination and stubborn spirit can push past physical pain.  
Best nap ever.

At Climber's Bivouac, where we began, there is a place to register your permit number, the time you began your climb, your ETA,  and the time you returned. We began at 7 am, estimated we'd return by 7pm and were able to put as our actual return time: 4:10 pm. It was a ten mile round trip and we made it in just over 9 hours. It was an accomplishment we were all proud of and one we will always remember fondly. As we loaded up in the van, the mom/son group emerged from the woods. We all smiled with secret satisfaction.

back into the clouds on the way down
By the time we reached the van the sun was coming out.

Samuel and Hunter on their "Mom Date"

(Click on pictures to see them enlarged)


Thursday, October 20, 2016

Writing Myself Out of a Thinking Block

If you wait for inspiration to write; you’re not a writer, you’re a waiter. ~ Dan Poynter

 You can’t think yourself out of a writing block; you have to write yourself out of a thinking block. ~ John Rogers
I love to write; tales of my adventures, memories that recall tears, love and laughter, stories of truth that others can take comfort in. Memoirs that I will have to look back on if my mind ever fails me. But, have I ever considered myself a writer? I'm not sure.

I love to take pictures; pictures that tell stories in just one moment, pictures that showcase the glory of God's creation even though that can never be truly captured, pictures that show a persons personality in one shot. But I'm not sure I ever considered myself a photographer. 

I'm a mom, a teacher, a daughter, a friend.  I have been a student, a firefighter, a caretaker, a wife. These things, to me are tangible, easy to say, because they are, or have been, obvious to others. But to say I am a photographer or a writer, in my mind, means I would have to be able to dedicate myself to my craft without guilt or distraction, maybe even make a living doing it.

To be a writer and a photographer is my dream (as well as a traveler and an adventurer, but those, too seem to need some tangible evidence) Maybe I am being too persnickety. I think this conundrum is coming at a time when I have been forced to face the writers' block that has been ailing my abilities....but there you go, how can I have writer's block, if I'm not a writer? I must be one then.